Barner, Tucker Injured Against Jets

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Matthew Tucker and Kenjon Barner were hurt on back-to-back plays in the second quarter Thursday night against the Jets.

After a four-yard run off the left end, Tucker went to the sidelines and was clearly in discomfort. It was later revealed that he sustained a shoulder injury. Barner replaced Tucker and rushed for five yards on the next play but hurt his ankle on the run and limped off.  Tucker returned briefly but was still clearly hampered. Henry Josey and Damaris Johnson carried the load the rest of the way at running back. Josey finished with 121 yards on 22 carries (5.5 average).

Chris Polk practiced this week and was hoping to play even despite not being all the way back from a hamstring injury suffered early in training camp. But he sat out. After the game, he explained that the hamstring just wasn’t ready. Read more »

Playmaker: The Rise Of Brandon Boykin

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles-Training Camp

On the basketball court is where Al Boykin first really took notice.

Big brother was a high school sophomore and had grown accustomed to having to drag Brandon along with him wherever he went. On this occasion, the setup was a two-on-two game against a couple of older kids in their neighborhood.

“At first, it started out as, ‘Man, I gotta play with my brother. He’s six years younger than us. It might not be much of a game,’ ” Al recalled. “And then we started playing. He was actually killing the other guy. At that point, it was like, ‘Yeah, you could play, bro.’ It was good. And we just rolled it from there.”

Alfred, their father, saw it on the baseball diamond at a much earlier age.

“When he was 5-years-old, I put him in T-ball,” he said. “And I saw that he understood exactly what he needed to do right away. I didn’t have to teach him or anything. He was just 5-years-old, a little kid, and he loved it. …He was a fast learner. He loved sports.”

In every class, there is a kid who seems to win every race. The guy who plays quarterback and shortstop. The one who’s able to climb the ropes with ease, while others struggle to make it past the bottom knot. The first one picked, and the last one standing.

In Fayetteville, Ga., that kid was Brandon Boykin. Read more »

Kelly: Pass Rush The Issue On Third Down

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots

Chip Kelly could have offered a generic answer about the front end and the back end working together.

He could have expanded on how disappointed he was with the penalties, or even just given credit to Tom Brady. But when asked about the issues the Eagles are having on third down, Kelly pointed directly to the guys up front.

“We need to generate a better pass rush,” he said. “I think our defensive line needs to do a better job in terms of what their rush contains are. We had the one play with [Ryan] Mallett where Marcus [Smith II] does a nice job, makes him flush up in the pocket, but we got nobody on that side containing the quarterback, and you let the quarterback scramble for a touchdown.” Read more »

Frustrated Kelly Sounds Off On Penalties

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots

FOXBORO, Mass. — When Eagles players returned to the locker room following their 42-35 loss to the Patriots Friday night, they were greeted by a frustrated and stern Chip Kelly.

“Very strong,” said Cary Williams, when asked about the head coach’s message. “You could tell that he was frustrated. You could tell that he was upset about it. He wasn’t very happy about the way we played.

“He said he’s frustrated about penalties. He said that he wanted us to be better. We don’t practice like that. We shouldn’t play like that. We’ve gotta get our butts in gear and do something about it.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Checking In On Marcus Smith

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

At one point during 7-on-7s Wednesday, Marcus Smith found himself one-on-on with Jordan Matthews.

Smith stayed with the wideout well down field and was in decent position as the pass sailed to the corner of the end zone, but Matthews elevated and snagged the ball out of the air. Touchdown.

Or was it? Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Three Leftovers From Davis

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis met with reporters Sunday. Below are three things that stood out.

1. We’ve written plenty in this space about the high number of snaps guys like DeMeco Ryans and Connor Barwin played last year. Part of that had to do with the defense’s inability to get off the field. Part of it had to do with the team’s lack of depth at certain spots. Part of it had to do with pace and style of the offense.

But going forward, Davis wants to get those guys off the field a little bit more.

“It’s something we are very concerned about,” he said. “We don’t want any of them to play all the snaps. It’s too many snaps for any one defensive player. We know we had way too many. It benefits both us and the player and DeMeco or Mychal [Kendricks] that we get a rotation in there, too. We’ll get that rotation all the time through different packages and with the addition like you touched on of some new players. It will give us a little bit more flexibility. Read more »

Braman’s Long, Hard Road to Philadelphia

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Bryan Braman was born to be a professional athlete. His maternal grandfather, Ivan Cecil Braman, stood at 7-4 and weighed 365 pounds. His mother, Tina Braman-Fields, was an elite sprinter in high school in which she was part of a four-girl state champion track team and held the 100 meters school record.

That’s why it’s no surprise Braman is a 6-5, 241-pound “athletic freak” as described by many of his teammates. When he was in high school, his track and field coaches expected him to be an Olympian before he chose to pursue football. On the gridiron, he routinely ran around offensive linemen untouched to tackle ball-carriers in the backfield. Read more »

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